Saturday, November 27, 2021

Spectacular Day And Evening Views Of Manhattan & Queens Waterfront From New Roosevelt Island Southpoint Park East River Shoreline Pathways Opened Today - But Safety Issues Still Need To Be Addressed

As reported November 24:

The $11 million Roosevelt Island Shoreline renovation project to fix the crumbling Southpoint Park seawall and provide public access to previously fenced in areas adjacent to the East River will open this weekend....

Here's what the new Southpoint Park shoreline pathways 

looked like today.

According to these comments from Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Instagram Page 

  • Too many safety hazards, like too low barriers by the water, cheap plantings, sloppy work, dangerous "fences". Just a mess since all of RIOC was AWOL and didn't give a darn on the project
  • The wooden benches have not been sealed and the salt air will deteriorate them. 
  • It is a shame that the users will see a cheap version of the successful park like Brooklyn Bridge Park, 
  • There should be a fence in this area! 
  • That’s exactly what I was just telling my brother. Kids can climb on the rocks or anyone else and then fall right into the water which isn’t cool. Not sure why @rooseveltislandrioc decided this was “good”

Take a walk and see for yourself. It is very nice.

More video coming.

UPDATE 11/28: RIOC Public Safety Department posted signage all over Southpoint Park today advising:

No Bike Riding Allowed On Walking Path, Sidewalk and Rest Areas. Do Not Climb On Rocks.

Violators Will Be Summonsed

But bike riders rode on Southpoint Park sidewalk past Officer in a Public Safety vehicle without any warning or summons.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Roosevelt Island Farmers Market Temporarily Relocating To Winter Home Under The Motorgate Helix Starting Tomorrow, November 27 - Big Reuse Food Scrap Drop Off Site Moving To Motorgate Helix Tomorrow Too

The Roosevelt Island Saturday Farmers Market is relocating from Good Shepherd Plaza to their temporary winter home under the Motorgate Helix starting this Saturday, November 27.

According to Farmers Market vendor Israel Wengerd of Wengerd Farms: 

The move is necessary to be out of the inclement winter weather.

The Roosevelt Island Farmers Market at Motorgate Plaza under the Helix is open early morning to mid afternoon on Saturdays in good weather and bad offering a wide variety of healthy and delicious tasting fruits, vegetables and much more. 

Also, the Roosevelt Island Haki Compost Collective Food Scrap Drop Off Site 

is moving tomorrow too next to the Farmers Market:

The Big Reuse Food Scrap Drop-Off for compost program is year round each Saturday from 9am to 2pm. Starting Saturday 11/27/21 we move to the winter location near the helix Motorgate garage area along with the farmers market. Please drop your food scraps with the volunteers from the Haki Compost Collective for processing so we can return compost to our neighborhood landscapes and gardens. Let's help our essential workers by removing wet waste from our buildings. To volunteer please write to  
Local resident and iDig2Learn Founder Christina Delfico reports that the Roosevelt Island November 6 Big Reuse Pumpkin Smash collected 1022 pounds of Halloween waste that was diverted from landfill.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving From Roosevelt Island - Tradition, Family, Food, Football, Local History And Alice's Restaurant

Happy Thanksgiving Day wishes to everyone out there in Roosevelt Island land and elsewhere. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

Since Thanksgiving is a day all about about Tradition, here is my traditional Thanksgiving Day post started in 2007.
In addition to family, great food, the Macy's Parade, Miracle on 34th Street, March of the Wooden Soldiers and football, listening to Arlo Guthrie's rendition of Alice's Restaurant on WNEW-FM was, for me, a wonderful Thanksgiving tradition.

A former station DJ remembers Thanksgiving and Arlo Guthrie this way on the blog All Mixed Up Radio.
Every year a couple of days before Thanksgiving, it starts. It's slow at first, and then turns into a non-stop avalanche of phone calls. And no matter how many times a station runs promo announcements telling people exactly when it will be played, the calls still come.
"What time are you playing 'Alice's Restaurant?'"...
Yes, in the olden days people used to listen to music on the radio. Imagine that!

Here's a snippet of Alice's Restaurant with Arlo Guthrie and Johnny Cash

and the full song with scenes from the movie.

Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy shares a Thanksgiving  story from Roosevelt Island's past when it was known as Welfare Island and housed a penitentiary. Also, former blogger Roosevelt Island 360 tells us about the first Roosevelt Island Thanksgiving in 1975.

 Image From Roosevelt Island 360

Here's scenes from today's Macy's Thanksgiving Parade at Central Park West.

Happy Thanksgiving Roosevelt Islanders!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Great News! Trader Joe's Upper East Side Bridgemarket Store Under Queensboro Bridge On 59th Street Opening Thursday December 2, Only 1 Block From Roosevelt Island Tram

Great news for all the Roosevelt Island residents who have been asking when the new Trader Joe's at the Bridgemarket space underneath the Queensboro Bridge on 59th Street only one block from the Roosevelt Island Tram would open? 

We got the answer today and it's Thursday, December 2. What a great holiday present!

Roosevelt Island Southpoint Park $11 Million Shoreline Renovation Project Will Open To Public This Weekend Says RIOC President - Pedestrian Pathway Widened And Some Benches Repositioned To Face East River After Community Input

The $11 million Roosevelt Island Shoreline renovation project to fix the crumbling Southpoint Park seawall and provide public access to previously fenced in areas adjacent to the East River will open this weekend.

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Shelton Haynes announced today on his Instagram account:

... Southpoint Park Rip Rap Revetment project will be opening this weekend. This is one of those transformative projects that will truly enhance your Roosevelt Island experience. This $11million project has been completed on time and $1million under budget…. Kudos to our RIOC team and affiliates.

Today, I walked around the Southpoint Park shoreline area that is still behind fencing facing Queens

and Manhattan

After earlier criticism by some residents, RIOC has re-positioned some, but not all, benches to now face the East River instead of facing away as they were originally installed. 

Also, the pedestrian pathway on the Queens side appears to have been widened

by removing the sidewalk slabs of rock that were originally installed as seen below

after complaints by residents.

This is what the Southpoint Park Queens side shoreline looked like before the renovation of the area.

More on the Southpoint Park shoreline renovation project, including some community opposition, at this prior post. 

UPDATE 11/26 - RIOC announced this afternoon:

Roosevelt Island community!

The Southpoint Park Shoreline Restoration project is complete and will be open to the public, tomorrow, Saturday, November 27th, at 5 PM, showcasing its two newly expanded and improved waterfront promenades.

The project, while providing enhanced scenic views in and around the park, included measures to protect 1,600 linear feet of shoreline and incorporated nearly 34,000 square feet of new, indigenous landscaping. 

Come out and enjoy spectacular city views from expanded lookout points, quiet strolls through winding pathways lined with lush vegetation, and a chance to rediscover the riverfront while relaxing on accessible seating.  

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

What Are Your Roosevelt Island Thanksgiving Plans - Dinner Menu From Nisi, Granny Annies & Anything At All Restaurants, Check Out NY Times Cooking At Home Tips And Why This Year Could Be The Most Expensive Thanksgiving Ever

What are your plans for Thanksgiving this year. Are you going away, staying home and cooking or going out for your Thanksgiving dinner? Whatever your plans, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!.

Here's an interesting CNBC interview with Stew Leonard Jr. on:

 ... food inflation and supply chain costs, and how prices could be higher this holiday season.
According to Mr. Leonard:

... There's certain foods to avoid right now but you're going to feel a little bit more but I want everybody to remember Thanksgiving is the least expensive holiday of the year...


Except, CNBC explains why this year could be the most expensive Thanksgiving ever.

If you're going out, Roosevelt Island restaurants are offering Thanksgiving dinner at:


Granny Annies

and the Graduate Hotel's Anything At All on the Cornell Tech campus.

If you're cooking Thanksgiving dinner, the NY Times Food staff has some tips.

The Cafe @Cornell Tech is closed Thanksgiving thru Sunday November 28 and reopening Monday November 29.

Happy Thanksgiving Roosevelt Island.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Roosevelt Island And Upper East Side NYC District 2 School Parents Urge DOE To Expand French/English Dual Language Pre K Program To K-5 Grades, Sign Up For Information Session - Local NYC Council Member Kallos And Council Member-Elect Menin Support Program Expansion

Nadia Levy and St├ęphane Lautner are parents and organizers of an initiative to bring free dual language French-English classes for children in NYC District 2 Community Schools which include PS/IS 217 on Roosevelt Island

According to Ms Levy and Mr Lautner:

The Upper East Side Francophone Dual Language Initiative is an organization that successfully created two Pre-K classes on the Upper East Side, and is currently working hard for the implementation of a Francophone dual language program in School District 2 public schools serving the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island. 

The organization is planning a discussion session on Roosevelt Island for parents who may be interested in more information in the program. Space may be limited; so please RSVP at this link. Further information — including the date, time and location of the meeting — will be forwarded after registration.

Roosevelt Island resident Bafode Drame adds:

The Dual Language, French-English Initiative that created a free Pre-K public school program in District 2, is trying to extend the program to grades K-5, and also reaching out to the RI community to raise awareness for the free public school program in District 2 that includes Roosevelt Island.
Tap Into Sutton Place/Lenox Hill reported in October 2020:

Council Member Ben Kallos led a ribbon cutting to announce the availability of 40 Pre-K Seats for a French dual language program that will serve members of the Francophone community on the East Side.

According to Council Member Kallos, the New York City Department of Education will operate the classes using a side-by-side instructional model where it will have one Early Childhood-certified teacher who is fluent in French and who has or will work towards a bilingual extension, alongside a second Early Childhood-certified teacher.

Classes started at the Pre-K Center at 355 East 76th Street on September 21....

But in January 2021 Tap Into Sutton Place/Lenox Hill added:

Parents on the Upper East Side were thrilled when, after their hard work and support from elected officials, the Department of Education opened a pre-K French dual language program last October. The parents, however, had also worked with the DOE to identify a public school on the Upper East Side that would host a K-5 French dual language program so that the pre-K students could continue their second language studies. But on Monday afternoon, the DOE informed the parents that it would not be opening a K-5 program for the new school year in September....
Ms Levy reported last week:
The DOE had promised to help that happen, but did not keep their word last year.  We are trying to change that this year. We are hopeful with the new mayor, things may change. 
Roosevelt Island and Upper East Side NYC Council Member Ben Kallos supports expansion of the dual French/English language program to K-5 grades in District 2. According to Mr Kallos:

Roosevelt Island is an incredibly diverse community, including families from Francophone countries all over the world. The Upper East Side's French Dual Language program has been a success, with some Roosevelt Islanders already participating. 
Expanding this program would open more seats to interested families, and would be a great opportunity for the Island's international community. Thank you to the parents who have tirelessly advocated for these programs, not only for their own children, but for the community as a whole.

Roosevelt Island and the Upper East Side NYC Council Member-elect Julie Menin adds:

The Department of Education must expand the French dual language program within Community School District 2, which enables students to write, read and speak in both English and their home language. Assisting our bilingual families supports the multiculturalism that is a central component of New York City’s identity. It is essential that the Department of Education reconsider this decision.
I asked the NYC Department of Education for comment earlier today and will update with any response. 

Register here to attend an Information Session on the Dual French/English Dual Language Initiative for District 2.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Roosevelt Island Annual Christmas Tree Sale, Order Online By November 24, Pick Up At The Helix, Delivery Available Too - 25% Of Every Purchase Will Support PS/IS 217 PTA

According to the Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 school PTA:

PS/IS 217's annual Christmas tree fundraiser is back this year!

25% of all Christmas Tree sales will be donated to the PTA of PS/IS 217, so this is a great way to help support our school while enjoying some holiday cheer!

We have a new local tree grower that we are partnering with this year: Greg's Trees -- We look forward to developing this partnership over the next few years. 

Pickup will be at the Helix (close to Foodtown Supermarket) on a date of your choosing: 

Saturday November 27th, 

Friday December 3rd, 

Saturday December 11th. 

We will follow up with each order to confirm your pickup date. There will be an assortment of trees to choose from according to the size of tree that you purchased. 

Prices below are inclusive of the NYC sales tax of 8.875%.

We are arranging middle-school students to help offer delivery of these trees -- Tips greatly appreciated.

Did you know that it takes 10 years to grow a five foot tree??? 

Click here to order your Roosevelt Island Christmas Tree and help support the PS/IS 217 PTA.

UPDATE 11/28 - A reader asked today:

Usually I go to your blog to see when the tree sales start. I didn’t see a post about it. It’s always the weekend after Thanksgiving under the motor gate. I just went there and didn’t see the team selling trees.

Just curious if you know anything. Thanks a lot.
I'll ask the PTA if Christmas Trees can still be ordered for next pick up date.

Residents were picking up Christmas Trees 

yesterday at the Motorgate Helix next to Farmers Market. 

UPDATE 8:50 PM - The Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 PTA reply:

Yes! We extended the order deadline and reopened the link. It should still work!  He’s back again this coming Friday, 2:30-7:30.

UPDATE 12/9 - According to the PS/IS 217 PTA:

This is your last chance to grab your Christmas Tree in support of PS/IS 217. Pre-order now-- our local tree farmer, "Santa" Greg, will be back one last time this Saturday, Dec 11, 12:00 - 4:00PM. He brings a few extra so you can pick your favorite (pre-order guarantees you a tree!)! Remember that 25% of every purchase will return to support the PS/IS 217 PTA and our students. Buy your tree now.